Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Dr. Lori Haskell: A Trauma Informed Justice System

May 30, 2016

A Trauma Informed Justice System: Understanding The Neurobiology of Trauma

It is critical that first responders and police officers are knowledgeable about the effects of prolonged abuse and trauma because these complex neurobiological and psychological effects interfere with the way that domestic/sexual violence victims access safety, process information and remember details.

Research findings from the fields of traumatic studies, and neuroscience have resulted in new understandings of the neurobiological structures and processes in the brain and in the body that occur in response to sexual assault and domestic violence.  Current research findings pertaining to sexual assault victims’ emotional and behavioural post assault reactions and their memory recall of these incidents will be presented.

The material in this workshop offers a conceptual framework for understanding simple and complex psychological trauma. In the past decade there have been remarkable advances in both the understanding and treatment of abuse related trauma, early maltreatment and neglect.  A trauma informed model moves away from the idea of understanding discrete “symptoms,” and instead offers a coherent, comprehensive theoretical basis for understanding the physiology and neuroscience that underlie trauma. Through utilization of clinical case material, participants will be exposed to a rich theoretical understanding of complex trauma that is nonpathologizing, developmentally informed and takes into account social context.

Domestic/Sexual violence victims frequently encounter services that mirror the power and control experienced in the abusive relationships that caused the past trauma.

Whereas, trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization.

Responding effectively to traumatized individuals requires an understanding of our own self-capacities and abilities. Our effectiveness in our work is not only based on our knowledge, skills and theory but also on our self-awareness.  The more we can understand these complex responses in both ourselves and our clients the more effective we will be.


  1. Explain the biological nature of trauma; how trauma is stored in the body and limbic system, creating physical and psychological symptoms
  2. Describe how specific experiences impact victim trauma, memory, reactions and behavior and how officer interpretation of this behavior impacts sexual assault investigations.
  3. Define forensic psycho-physiological evidence
  4. Understand that victim disclosure often occurs in pieces over time and identify strategies for working with victims to facilitate trust and communication.

 (Topics Covered)


The Neurobiology of Traumatic Experience

Trauma & Memory

Reactions of First Responders

Attrition in sexual assault cases

Common Errors in Interviewing Victims

What helps us become more effective in our work?

Neuroscience of Attunement

Trauma Informed Victim Interviews

Neurobiological Understandings of Traumatic Responses

Neurobiological Understandings of Traumatic Responses

Understanding  the differences between Simple and Complex Trauma

Understanding Abuse and Trauma Developmentally

Vicarious Trauma- Understanding Our Own Reactions

Neurophysiology of Empathy